There are always metro stations near major tourist attractions, and since there are many of them, once you know how to buy and ride a ticket, the metro will become a strong ally for sightseeing in Paris.
This article explains in detail the route map, how to buy a ticket, how to ride the metro, and points to keep in mind such as security.
As well as the Metro, there are many buses running on routes, which is a convenient transportation system, but traffic jams are very common in Paris.
Depending on the time, you may not be able to get to your destination at all! So for travelers who don’t have much time (or days), the metro is the most useful.
Metro is the most convenient way to get around
Of course, the metro is traffic jam free.
There are also many bus routes in Paris, but once you get caught in a traffic jam, you can’t get there at all!
Also, unlike in Japan, there are no signs for the next bus stop, and even if there are, it is usually after the bus has passed the stop.
Unless you have a few days to spare or don’t care about the time, I would not recommend it.
Especially in the mornings, evenings, and evenings, the roads in Paris are very congested, so you may miss the closing time of the museums, or you may not have time for sightseeing.
On the other hand, if you take the metro, there is no traffic jam, and the trains come every five minutes at most, which is very convenient.
Beware of pickpockets in the car
I have not heard of anyone being robbed or knifed in a car, but pickpockets do happen, so please be aware of your surroundings.
In the second half of this article, I will explain how pickpockets work and what you can do about it, so please refer to that.
Ticket Types and Deals
There are various types of Metro tickets, including single tickets, coupon tickets, one-day tickets, and commuter tickets.
I’ll explain which ones are the best value for money and which ones can be used by short-stay travelers!
Unlike Japan, the fare is based on a zone system (the fare changes for each zone), so if you are traveling within Paris (all of Paris is in zone 1), you should be fine, but if you are going to the suburbs, such as the Palace of Versailles (zone 4) or Disneyland Paris (zone 5), you will have to pay extra.
(Example) From Paris city to the Palace of Versailles (zone 4): 3 single tickets (carnet)
To go from Paris to Disneyland Paris (Zone 5), 4 single tickets (carnet) are required.
Reference: Paris RER & Train Map
Ticket types and prices
・Single ticket (one time ticket) Tickett+ €1.90.
・Carnet (10-trip ticket) Tickett+ €14.90.
・Mobilis (one day pass)
Fare by zone
・Navigo (1-week pass) Navigo €22.80 (add €5 issuance fee for the first time only).
Explanation of suitable tickets by length of stay and purpose of visit
Stay for a week (Monday to Sunday) or longer: Navigo
・People who are staying for one week (from the middle of the week. For example, from Thursday to the following Wednesday): Mobilis if you ride more than 6 times a day; Carnet if less than 5 times a day.
・If you are staying in Paris for less than a week and plan to ride the metro or bus a reasonable amount of times, you can use the carnet.
・If you are planning to stay in Paris for less than a week and ride the metro or bus a fair amount of times, a single ticket is recommended.
Long term visitors -navigo-
If you’re staying for a week (Monday to Sunday) or longer, and you take the Metro, RER, or bus fairly often, I definitely recommend
For €22.80, you get unlimited rides on the metro, RER, and buses in Paris and surrounding areas up to zone 5 for a week!
So whether you want to visit Versailles or Disneyland, you only need this one ticket!
Moreover, you can also take the airport bus to Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, so as long as you have the right number of days and days of the week, you won’t have to worry about transportation costs (laughs).
Since it’s an IC card like Suica, you don’t need to take it out of your wallet or commuter pass every time, making it easy and secure.
Getting it is very easy!
What you need to prepare.
・One 3.0cm (H) x 2.5cm (W) photo
・Ballpoint pen or magic marker for signature
How to buy
1. Go to a manned counter at a major train station (the station where you change trains with the national railways or the station in the center of Paris such as the Opera), tell them you want to buy a Navigo, and pay the fee.
2. You will be given an IC card, a paper card, and a special case to put your photo on and fill in your name.
3.Put the card in the case and start using it.
By the way, some station staff will help you until you put your photo on the card.
Points to note
・The days of the week you can buy the tickets are fixed! (Friday to Thursday of the following week)
・The period during which you can use it is also fixed! (Monday to Sunday)
→ Friday to Sunday purchase: From the following Monday to Sunday
Monday-Thursday purchase: From the day of purchase until Sunday
In other words, if you purchase on Thursday, you can only use it for 4 days including the day of purchase.
By the way, if you buy on Friday, you can use it on the following Monday!
・If you forget your photo, there is a photo machine at the station, but you can’t choose the size and the quality is not good. The price is €5.
The size of the photo is just barely big enough to fit in, but the photo will be filled with your face (laughs).
Ticket t+ (10 tickets)
This is a set of 10 Ticket t+ cards. Also known as “carnet” in France.
The price is €14.90 per set, so €1.49 per ticket.
If you ride the metro or bus more than 10 times, it is definitely worth it.
You don’t have to use them all by yourself, so you can use them with multiple people.
By the way, the tickets do not expire if they are not used!
You can use the leftover tickets the next time you visit Paris again.
Ticket t+ (one time ticket)
This is a one-time single ticket.
This is recommended for people who rarely ride (or don’t plan to ride) or as a bridge until they start using Navigo.
The magnetic performance of both the carnet and single ticket is not as good as that of a Japanese ticket, so sometimes they do not respond when you put them into the ticket gate.
If this happens, go to the ticket counter and tell the station staff that you can’t use it, and they will give you a replacement ticket.
In many cases, you can’t use it if you put it close to a magnet, so be careful of the magnet in your phone case.
How to buy a ticket and ride the metro
Buying a ticket and getting on the metro is not that difficult since it is not that different from Japan.
It’s not that difficult to buy a ticket or get on the metro.
Although the security is not as good as in Japan, it is possible to prevent pickpockets and snatchers by carrying your luggage properly.
How to buy a ticket
This is an explanation of how to buy a ticket at the station, with pictures.
For Tickett+ (single ticket)
1.Touch the screen.
If the screen is dark, touch it to reboot and turn on the screen.
2. Select your language
You can select French, English, Spanish, German, or Italian as your language.
Turn the bar at the bottom of the screen to move the cursor. In this case, I chose English.
Once the cursor is on English, press the green button on the bottom right to confirm (or the red button on the bottom left to cancel).
3. Choose to buy a ticket
You will be prompted to choose whether you want to recharge your Navigo or buy a ticket.
Move the cursor down and select “Buy Ticket”.
A screen will appear where you can select the type of ticket, such as Tickett+ (single ticket or carnet), ticket to the nearest station of Disneyland Paris, Airport Ticket, or Mobilis.
Select “Tickett+” for single tickets and carnet.5. Select the number of tickets
If you are buying single tickets, select the number of tickets you need (1 to 9). you will see that the price suddenly becomes cheaper when you buy 10 tickets.6. Select “Full Fare” on the age selection screen.
You must be 10 years old or younger to get the discount, so please select “Full Fare”.7. Pay the fee
Credit cards (VISA, MasterCard) and cash are accepted.
However, please note that cash cannot be used for bills. If you do not have enough change, you can purchase it directly from the station staff at the counter.
To purchase Tickett+ (Carnet, set of 10 tickets)
Up to the selection of the ticket type, the procedure is the same as for single ticket purchase steps 1 through 4.
5. If you want to buy carnet, choose 10 or 20 tickets.
The subsequent steps are the same as in steps 6 and 7.
To purchase a Mobilis (one-day pass)
Up to the selection of the ticket type, it is the same as steps 1 to 3 of the single ticket purchase procedure.
4. Select “Mobilis” as the ticket type.
5. Select the zone you want to use.
The price will vary depending on the size of the zone.
6.Select the number of copies to purchase.
The photo shows the screen for Zone1-2.
The rest of the procedure is the same as 6-7 for buying a single ticket.
How to ride the metro
Once you’ve got your ticket, it’s time to actually ride!
How to ride the metro
1.If you have a ticket, put it into the ticket gate; if you have a Navigo, touch it. The method is the same as in Japan.
2.Take the ticket that comes out. Don’t throw away the ticket until the end!
3.On some trains, you have to push a button (or pull a knob) to open the door. Be careful, it won’t open unless you push it!
※In some stations and lines, all the doors open automatically.
4.You can also press the button to get off.
5.When you get off the train, head towards the “Sortie” (exit).
6.When you leave, there is no need to insert a ticket or touch Navigo.
Points to note
・Keep your ticket, don’t throw it away.
You don’t need the ticket at the exit, but sometimes the Metro staff will do an unannounced inspection of your possession.
If you do not have your ticket with you at this time, you will be fined many times over. This of course applies to tourists as well.
Tickets are also invalid unless they are valid for the day and printed at the time of boarding. There is no point in having another valid unused ticket.
You will be fined mercilessly, so be sure to hold on to your ticket until you get off.
・Beware of station and line closures.
In Paris, train stations and train lines are sometimes closed for business, although this is very rare in Japan.
When this happens, you can’t enter the station, and trains will pass through. If it is a train line, it will not be running in the first place.
So, if you know your schedule in advance, it would be a good idea to check the top page of the Paris Transportation Authority to get information about train cancellations before you leave.
In fact, when we went to the train station in Paris, it was not open, and on the way back from the Palace of Versailles, the train line itself was closed, so we had to go back the way we came.
Tickets can be used for both Metro and RER
Single tickets and carnet are common for both Metro and RER.
As long as the time between the first time you go through the ticket gate and the time you leave the ticket gate is within 120 minutes (2 hours), you can transfer to the RER as well as the Metro.
However, in the case of a single ticket or carnet, the RER is only valid in zone 1, so be careful of the zone section.
Cautions before using the system
The Paris subway system stops all stations and lines when there is construction.
If you can’t use it, you will have to take a long way around and waste both time and energy, so we recommend that you check the top page of the Paris Transport Authority in advance.
Beware of pickpockets in the car
If you are used to the Japanese subway system, the first thing you will probably think when you get on the Paris Metro is that it is narrow and dark.
The Paris subway is not as bright as the Japanese subway (it is not fluorescent, so it seems even more so), and the cars are smaller, so it feels smaller.
Even so, I have never heard of anyone being robbed or having a knife pointed at them.
However, pickpockets are common, so please be careful.
(I often get into financial trouble overseas, but I have never been a victim of pickpocketing, except in the Paris Metro.
If you know the tricks of the trade and what to do about it, you can prevent it from happening!
How pickpockets work
・They take advantage of the crowded streets to approach you and steal your wallet or smart phone from your bag or pocket.
・Surrounding you in a group
・One person distracts the other by stopping or dropping something, and the other person steals it while the other person is distracted.
There are many ways to steal.
・Do not use a bag with an opening that does not close (one way to prevent this is to make the bag seem hard to open).
・Put your backpack in front of you so that you can see it.
・Do not put valuables in your pockets, especially in the back.
・Do not accidentally take out your wallet or smart phone (do not show it to pickpockets). The same applies to buying a ticket.
・Do not approach a group of people. Do not approach a group of people. If they approach you, move away.
・If a seat is available, sit down (hold your bag in front of you).
・When standing, avoid the area near the door.
Get to know the Paris Metro
The Paris Metro is a strong ally for tourists.
The Paris Metro is a great ally for tourists, and although it may be safer than the trains in Japan, if you take proper precautions against pickpockets, you will be able to tour the city comfortably and efficiently.
To avoid any regrets when sightseeing in Paris, please pay attention to your surroundings, check the construction work in advance, and use the trains safely and comfortably.